Skepchick Quickies 2.3

  • Court sides with father: Vaccination in best interests of child – “If you’re a fan of rational, science-based medicine, here’s some good news: a family court in Florida has ruled that, all other things being equal, it’s in a child’s best interests to be in the custody of a parent who would vaccinate the child, as opposed to one who would not.”
  • Drink your Vitamin Water, skip your flu shot? – The National Consumers League, “…objects to a poster ad for vitaminwater that reads, “Flu shots are so last year” and shows three varieties of vitaminwater with the banners “more vitamin c, more immunity.”” From Buzz Parsec.
  • Creation “science” in the writing classroom – From Bob, who wrote an interesting post over on Skeptical Humanities.
  • Evolution education – “Roger Taylor wants the next generation of science educators to understand that teaching evolution as doctrine, diametrically opposed to those who believe in intelligent design, sends an arrogant, counterproductive message to their students.” From Zachary.


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. I would say that Roger Taylor is fractally wrong but I suspect he wouldn’t understand fractals any better that he understands what science is.

    He uses the examples of alchemy and astronomy and I would tend to agree with those examples, but there is one thing he failed to notice. Those things aren’t taught any more BECAUSE THEY AREN’T SCIENCE. Neither is ID, it is a failed atempt to sneak religion into the science classroom and should be shamed as the awful tactic that it was, as should its proponants.


  2. Creative Writing class approach to science:
    ‘I also made it clear that I in no way intended to offend or comment on anyone’s religious beliefs (teaching at a public university, I was acutely aware of my responsibilities to protect the religious rights of my students). At the same time, a guiding tenet of my class was that if you make claims about the observable world and represent what you do as science, your assertions are open to scrutiny and evaluation, as all science is open to challenge. Indeed, nothing purporting to be a science can justifiably claim to be protected religious speech. So, I made it clear to students that I did not intend to critique “creationism,” but that I was looking specifically at “creation science” a.k.a. “intelligent design.”’
    sounds more scientific than psychologist’s accomodationist stance:

    ‘Another important tip for science teachers is to acknowledge there’s room for both science and religion.

    ‘“Science is a way of understanding the world. Science doesn’t talk about ethics and morals and how you should live your life,” Taylor said. “Religion deals with that.”’

    Gee, than why must religion be included in a class about science at all?

    Also: ‘“Intelligent design can be considered a scientific theory,” he said. “Look back—astrology and alchemy were the best theories that scholars of the day had at the time. Over the centuries, scientists learned they weren’t very predictive, weren’t very useful. That was one of the things that distinguishes what we consider a scientific theory from a non-scientific theory.”’

    Exactly, like alchemy and astrology, intelligent design COULD have been considered a scientific theory, not CAN. In light of what we know now, we don’t say that alchemy can be considered a theory in comparison to chemistry or astrology in comparison to astronomy. Why treat the incoherent mess that’s called creationism any different?

  3. Thanks for the link, Amanda!

    scribe999: I only agree w/ Taylor in that intelligent design is a touchy subject. Apart from that, fffffft!

    I cut out a bit from my (writing) essay where I talked about “protosciences” in the first part of the semester. Astrology led to more accurate measurements of star positions, for instance, and it is important to remember that a lot of the greats in astronomy were also practicing astrologers (I guess it paid the bills). So, astrology was a precondition of modern chemistry, but it was never really a science in the modern sense. It’s just wrong to suggest that just because something was at one point the best that anyone had that it was ever any good. :)

  4. The vitamin water versus vaccine experiment would be so easy to test experimentally. If we can skip the nicety of a double-blind I’d like to be in the vaccine group please.

  5. “Science is a way of understanding the world. Science doesn’t talk about ethics and morals and how you should live your life,” Taylor said. “Religion deals with that.”
    This really offends me. Religion no more deals with ethics and morals than any other method of looking at the world. I tend to be a little suspicious of the morals of religious people, but I’ll do them the justice of accepting that religion is not incompatible with morals. But the idea that non-religious people are not concerned with ehtics and morals is ludicrously and outrageously unfair.

  6. @Twonie:
    In agree. Sam Harris might have something to sat about that as well. ” The Moral Landscape : How Science Can Determine Human Values. “

  7. I agree with the previous commenters. Wouldn’t it be possible/good/fruitful to organise a serious discussions of Harris’ book here at Skepchik’s?

  8. Dear Roger Taylor,
    The last thing education as a field needs is another self important dickhead who thinks their opinion is of more value than properly designed studies when determining the most effective method for teaching children.
    Fuck right off

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